§ Lord Mitchell
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What further plans they have for contingency planning for possible military action against Iraq. [HL2144]
§ Lord Bach
In a Statement on 20 January (Official Report, cols 34–35) in another place, the Defence Secretary informed the House of the Government's decision to deploy a land force package led by Headquarters 1 (UK) Armoured Division to provide military capabilities for potential military action against Iraq. This deployment has made good progress.
We told the House that operational planning continued to evolve. In order to provide Headquarters 1 (UK) Armoured Division with further flexibility to respond to a range of possible tasks and circumstances, we now plan to deploy two additional units. Members of the 1st Battalion The Duke of Wellington's Regiment will deploy to provide additional infantry capability; 202 Field Hospital (Volunteer) will deploy to provide additional medical capability. We had originally envisaged that 202 Field Hospital (Volunteer) would replace 33 Field Hospital, which is already deployed. We now plan that 33 Field Hospital will remain in theatre, along with 34 Field Hospital and 202 Field Hospital (Volunteer), for the time being.
These changes involve some 850 personnel; the total size of the deployment remains about 45,000 personnel.